New York-based painter Yun-Fei Ji’s lively depictions of Chinese village life express equal parts affection for rural ways and disgust at the corruption and ignorance that threatened to make them extinct. Using Classical Chinese painting techniques, he has spent years documenting The Three Gorges Dam project and its displacement of millions of Chinese citizens. What will the paintings show now that the dam’s waters have risen? Find out when the exhibition opens, Nov 17th at James Cohan Gallery
A trio of shows south of the border (e.g. just beyond the Meatpacking District!) are a cinch to draw visitors below 14th Street this month with excellent offerings by young West Coast artists Evan Holloway and Jennifer Bornstein and Swiss legend Dieter Roth. Holloway at long last presents his first New York solo show after attracting attention in the 2002 Whitney Biennial for his abstract sculptures, while Bornstein departs from her usual photo and film-based work to present intimate portraits created by copperplate etching. Meanwhile Carolina Nitsch Contemporary Art shows editioned graphics and objects by the master of odd art materials (including chocolate and sausage) as part of a two-gallery show also at Josee Bienvenu Gallery in Chelsea. (Evan Holloway’s and Jennifer Bornstein’s shows are open until Nov 18th, Dieter Roth’s is open until Nov 25.)
Two shows vie for the title of ‘most talked about’ this month: young, German maverick John Bock’s new video and zany rooftop installation at Anton Kern Gallery and painter of curvaceous women, Lisa Yuskavage’s latest bevy of babes at David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea and Zwirner & Wirth uptown. Those who love Bock’s signature mad scientist behavior will delight to find the provocateur slithering through cabinetry, eating from a can of ravioli with a spoon attached to a chair leg and performing other bizarre feats. Likewise, Yuskavage fans will enjoy a spectacular array of light drenched, color-soaked portraits of fecund females. Neither will leave you short of conversation. (John Bock is at Anton Kern Gallery until November 25, Lisa Yuskavage’s paintings are up until November 18.)
Christian Marclay’s last solo show was a memorable installation of 16 monitors arranged in a circle and playing a composition of sounds made by shaking, rattling and rolling objects from the Walker Art Museum’s Fluxus archive. This and other imaginative projects (including one front and center in MoMA’s newly reinstalled contemporary art galleries) ramp up the excitement for his next show, titled ‘The Electric Chair’ after Andy Warhol’s famous image from his Death and Disaster series.
Click for more on Christian Marclay at Paula Cooper Gallery.
For ‘Time Out New York’ Magazine
Jesse Bercowetz and Projects (a collaborative with Carrie Dashow) felt compromised by restraint. Judging by the riot of knockabout sculptures assembled from junk crowding “Things Got Legs” at Derek Eller Gallery, the pair seems determined not to make the same mistake twice. From the spinning head located inside the front door to the flashing lights of a dungeon-like installation in the back room, a carnival atmosphere prevails. But at times, a lack of focus threatens the potential punch.
The show’s energy and disorder stem from the same source: the artists’ enthusiasm for conspiracy theories and folktales, with many pieces confusingly alluding to several at once. The book-laden sculpture “Library” includes an extensive cache of audiotaped interviews with writers on topics like non-Al Qaeda 9/11 plots, secret government experiments and ESP. Across the room, “Can Jet Fuel Melt Steel?,” a rickety model of the WTC towers, constructed from shish kebob skewers and topped with a bowling ball, seems to mock a theory that many of those authors take very seriously.
Bercowetz and Bua’s uncritical approach sometimes backfires. In the rear gallery, an altar festooned with black fabric and lanterns suggests Halloween-party décor more than its purported subjects, child abuse and murder. But questioning the line between truth and fiction – as most of these works do – relates more than a little to the endless spin of our own political climate, giving this show a relevance that insouciance doesn’t diminish.